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The Immigration Observer

What is the Form I-94 and Why is it So Critical to U.S. Immigration Status

January 09, 2023

The Department of Homeland Security’s Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record is a critical immigration document issued to foreign nationals upon arrival in the U.S. as it establishes their class of admission and the date by which they must legally depart the U.S. Consequently, Form I-94 errors, particularly those of which the foreign national may not be aware, can profoundly impact their life and immigration status in the U.S. It is, therefore, vital that foreign nationals who arrived and were processed at a U.S. port of entry access and review their latest Form I-94 record at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home.

Inevitably, errors on the Forms I-94 do occur. For example, the Form I-94 may list an incorrect nonimmigrant visa classification, inaccurate biographical information, or an incorrect period of admission.  A foreign national who has detected an error on their Form I-94 can visit one of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Deferred Inspection Sites located within an international airport or at the Port of Entry, or contact the appropriate site via telephone or email (contact information can be accessed here: https://www.cbp.gov/contact/ports/deferred-inspection-sites) to have the Form I-94 corrected.

The ultimate takeaway is that foreign nationals in the U.S. should be keenly aware of their Form I-94 contents. They should look it up and download it shortly after every entry to the U.S. They should know their “Class of Admission” and the “Admit Until Date.” If an error is detected, the foreign national should request a correction as soon as possible. If a direct request to CBP fails, the foreign national should seek counsel from qualified and knowledgeable immigration attorneys to explore their options.

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